Stocks Jump on Bernanke; First August Gains since 2009
Published on Friday, 31 August 2012 17:57 Written by Christopher Lynn
New York, August 31st (TradersHuddle.com) – Stocks received a boost, closing higher and paring weekly losses after Fed Chairman Bernanke reiterated his pledge that the central bank stands ready to act and apply stimulus to reignite a sluggish economy and terrible labor market. Encouraging headlines from Europe also helped the major benchmark indices to log their first August gains since 2009.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 90.31 points, or 0.69%. The S&P 500 index climbed 7.10 points or 0.51%, while the NASDAQ gained 18.25 points, or 0.60%.
For the week, the Dow fell 0.51%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.32% and the NASDAQ slid 0.09%. For the month, The Dow climbed 0.63%, while the broad market index gained 1.98% and the NASDAQ rallied 4.34%.
The market started with gains ahead of Ben Bernanke’s speech in Jackson Hole, WY. Price action overseas was mixed, as in Asia Japan fell after reporting weaker than expected Industrial Production, which was attributed to sluggish demand in China and Europe. German retail sales data showed a 1.0% year-over-year decrease, while an improvement of 0.4% was expected. Elsewhere, euro zone Unemployment was in-line at 11.3%.
Global participants were also focusing on reports over the possible ECB bond buying program and looking beyond Bernanke to the ECB’s meeting scheduled for September 6th.
Mid morning, in his much anticipated speech, the Fed Chief did not explicitly signaled any monetary easing was imminent, but reiterated his promise that the central bank stands ready to act, particularly amid the terrible job market. The speech pushed gold prices to their highest levels since March and lifted equities, with the Dow able to post a gain for the month.
Most of the S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with energy, materials, and technology logging the best performances, while utilities fell. Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), the largest gold producer, rallied to the top of the S&P 500, as the bullion received a boost from Bernanke. Shares of Newmont Mining gained 4.4%. Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) was another top performer in the materials sector and broad market index, as hopes for Fed action lifted the gold and copper producer.
In tech land, SAIC (NYSE: SAI) jumped 3.4%, the most in the technology sector, after the company missed earnings expectations, but revenue beat consensus, while revenue guidance was upbeat.
Corning (NYSE: GLW) gained 3.2% after the stock was upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer. The firm set its target price at $16 per share, while saying the stock has limited downside and upside potential once the macro economic environment improves
Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) gained 0.21% to $665.24, closing the week with a 2.2% loss after logging a new all-time high of $680.87 at the start of the week, following reaction of the legal victory against Samsung.
Elsewhere, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) plunged 5.4% to $18.06 after it logged a new all-time low of $18.03. Participants were jittery amid the increased float and cautious comments from Stifel Nicolaus. BMO Capital and Bank of America Merrill slashed their price targets to $15 from $25 and to $12 from $23, respectively.
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